ICM294-Governance and Compliance in Financial Services

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Ms Deepa Govindarajan Driver
Email: d.govindarajan@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module enables students to develop a deep, practical understanding of the corporate governance and compliance challenges specific to financial services firms. The modules then examines how these challenges should be addressed within regulated firms with a view to enhancing the real economy.



This module seeks to develop in students, an understanding of the importance and implications of governance and compliance requirements in the specific context of financial intermediation


Assessable learning outcomes:

Through engaging effectively with this module, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the conceptual basis and the theoretical approaches to corporate governance – in particular the shareholder-oriented and stakeholder-oriented approaches and their implications in a financial services context.

  • Evaluate different corporate governance tools and mechanisms, and recognise their strengths and weaknesses, as well as appreciating contextual nuances in financial services.

  • Evaluate the implications of financialization and of financial intermediaries’ corporate governance failures on a range of stakeholders and specifically implications for the real economy

  • Be able to provide a good overview of the compliance function and its responsibilities

  • Evaluate different practical aspects of delivering compliance through the use of controls, risk management arrang ements, culture, governance etc.

  • Evaluate the impact of financialization, and of compliance failures, both on the financial sector itself and on wider societal stakeholders.

  • Critically reflect on their learning and its relation to the real economy around them. In particular, students should be able to engage with real world examples in the above areas. 

Additional outcomes:

Review academic materials and critically examine a range of concepts related to the underlying subject matter verbally and in writing, both individually or as part of a group so as to develop and demonstrate understanding of the subject area


Outline content:

The module focuses on two primary topics of importance in the context of financial intermediation:

  • Corporate governance

  • Compliance


Having understood the key risks posed by financial intermediaries, in the autumn term module focussed on risk management,  in this module we examine the responsibilities of those involved with managing and mitigating these risks. We will also ex amine how, when and why. firms and individuals comply. Our examination of corporate governance will be undertaken in relation to the underlying strategies that cause the risks that global, multinational financial firms pose to civil society. Key topics of study are as follows:



  • Key concepts and theoretical approaches

  • Disclosure, transp arency and the market for corporate control
  • Board and senior management responsibility

Incentives and remuneration


  • Financialization

  • Corporate governance failures and accountability in a financial services context


  • Fundamentals of compliance including an introduction to the key theore tical approaches

  • Compliance with conduct of business and prudential requirements

  • Creative compliance, whistleblowing and culture - the links with governance and compliance  

  • Financialisation

Throughout this module we will examine policies, arrangements, tools and techniques that help foster ethical and responsible corporate decision-making and enhance stakeholder protections. Over time student s should be able to tackle in a critical, responsible and reflective manner the role of financialization and the moral issues which that can arise while concluding financial services transactions

Global context:

This module is the second compulsory module for students pursuing the MSc CMRC. It is also open to students of the Law School.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Seminars 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 36
    Wider reading (directed) 54
    Essay preparation 55
    Reflection 29
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The written assignments consists of two essays (each essay will have a wordcount of approximately 1750 words) both submitted in the first fortnight of the summer term 

Formative assessment methods:

Weekly written and verbal contributions to lectures and seminars as applicable. Reflective contributions based on homework or self-study

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% weighted average mark

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-submission of assignment

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required textbooks £60 2) Specialist equipment or materials: 3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 4) Printing and binding: £10 5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 8 April 2021


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